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Book Review: A Near-Death Researcher’s Notebook: What I Have Learned About Dying, Death, and the Afterlife

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1. Kevin Williams Review of “A Near-Death Researcher’s Notebook”

A Near-Death Researcher's Notebook5 Stars! Stellar! Not To Be Missed

Kenneth Ring’s latest collection of essays in A Near-Death Researcher’s Notebook offers so much more of what he has learned over the last forty years or so. Of course, there are a slew of essays here about near-death experiences (NDEs) and what they have to teach us. This section alone is kind of a treasury of Ring’s insights about NDEs. But other essays display his humorous side, and some of them are just laugh-out-loud funny. Still others are more serious and thoughtful treatment of issues which all of us one day must confront in dealing with mortal illness. Others are so emotionally moving that I was nearly brought to tears reading them.

Ring is 87 years-old now, and although as he freely admits, his body is a sometimes thing (to quote the title of one of his essays), his mind has obviously lost none of its sharpness. It is a hoary cliché to say that a book represents the author’s wit and wisdom but in this case, this phrase seems fitting. I loved this journey through Ring’s capacious mind, and I’m sure you will, too. Highly recommended.

2. Amazon’s Review of “A Near-Death Researcher’s Notebook”

Beginning with a hilarious account of the foibles and follies of a body that has expired before the author has, renowned NDE researcher, Kenneth Ring, in this collection of essays takes the reader on an exhilarating ride on the train whose destination is death—yet the journey is anything but morbid or depressing. On the contrary, in these genial, entertaining, and often witty essays, Ring invites us to ponder not just the hardships of facing death (he does not shy away from the anguish of dying), but what we can learn about how to live fully before we die. He even considers ways to ease the transition into death by the use of psychedelics. But much of the book distills what Ring has learned from his long career of researching near-death experiences, and the promise they hold out for us of a life beyond this one.

Although Ring can write with a light touch, the book also grapples with serious issues, such as the ethics of the right-to-die movement, the epidemic of loneliness in modern American life, and the views of various literary and other writers who feel, unlike Ring, that life is a dead end and the idea of an afterlife is pure fantasy. Finally, you will find in some of these essays deeply moving stories of people dealing with death that may make you cry. And yet, the book leaves one feeling upbeat and hopeful about life. Hop on the train and enjoy the ride—while you’re still alive!

3. About the Author

Kenneth Ring, Ph.D. (www.kenringblog.com) is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and is the cofounder and first president of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS). Dr. Ring is well known as one of the pioneer researchers of NDEs on which subject he has written a number of books including Lessons From The Light, Life At Death, Heading Toward Omega, The Omega Project, Mindsight, Waiting To Die, Reflections in a Glass Eye, and Blogging Toward Infinity.